Fish Importers Update

DEFRA reminder to all imports of fish & fish products into the UK

Here are the main points of an important message we recently received and which we believe are of significant value to all importers of fish and fish products into the UK.  DEFRA have issued a timely reminder that importers must adhere to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing requirements, when importing fish into the UK from the EU. These requirements came into effect in January 2021. 

A reminder of fish importers

IUU fishing requirements documentation (covering catch certificates, processing statements and evidence of storage) must be sent in advance to the relevant Port Health Authorities (PHA) for imports of fish and fishery products. 

There are however, certain exemptions and these are outlined in Annex 1 of the UK’s IUU fishing regulation

Please note that these fishing requirements are totally separate and they are in addition to sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. 

It is well worth noting the following requirements. 

1. Catch Certificates.  These are a key feature in helping to reduce IUU fishing and they provide vital assurance that the imported fish has been caught legally and in line with all regularity and management requirements. Please remember that this is confirmed by the flag state of the catching vessel. 

2. Processing Statement. If the fish is processed in a country that is not the flag state of the catching vessel a Processing Statement is required. This document must be verified by the competent authority of the processing country. Please remember that processing includes: filleting, packing, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling or preparing the fish for market in any other manner. 

3.  Evidence of storage. Do not forget that if the fish has been stored in a country that is not the flag state of the catching vessel or processing state then evidence of storage is required. Importantly the evidence should consist of documented evidence or a specific form that confirms the product was stored and remained under the surveillance of the competent authority in that third country. 

It is also worth noting that EU Member States are treated as 27 separate countries for the purposes of IUU fishing. 

Actions you must take: 

1.  The documents referred to above are required now!  These include imports from the EU and they must be sent by email (or supplied physically if the PHA requests) to the relevant PHA IN ADVANCE of the consignments arrival. Please note that in future these documents will be required to be uploaded onto IPAFFS. However, DEFRA will provide advance notice if this becomes a requirement. 

2. We recommend that you should contact the relevant PHA to find out just when you are required to send in the documents. 
The minimum timings set in the legislation are 72 hours in advance for imports by sea, 4 hours by rail or air and 2 hours by road. 

The fees charged
PHAs charge a fee to recover the costs of checking these documents. Or, if deemed necessary carrying out a physical inspection.  Fees are set by individual authorities and so they will inevitably vary. 

It is important to note that PHAs and the Marine Management Organisation remain responsible for enforcing these fishing requirements. They may take enforcement action where is thought necessary. 

If you are involved in the transportation of fish or fish products into the UK you can obtain further information by visiting: You can also speak to us and we will be delighted to discuss and assist you in any way we can. You can contact Aerona by telephoning 0161 652 3443. You could also email us at: or you can send us a message using the form that can be found on our Contact page. Please remember, at Aerona we are here to help you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *